006: Heather Dessinger on Tongue Ties, Eating Dirt, & Natural Beauty

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Wellness Mama » Episode » 006: Heather Dessinger on Tongue Ties, Eating Dirt, & Natural Beauty
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The Wellness Mama Podcast
006: Heather Dessinger on Tongue Ties, Eating Dirt, & Natural Beauty

This week, I am so excited to welcome Heather Dessinger, aka Mommypotamus. She is a blogger, researcher, and author of several e-books and mom to three little ones. She and her husband Daniel recently moved to a farm and are working toward raising their own food.

I was excited to talk to Heather because we both read each others blogs and I feel like we have a lot in common and I think she is an incredible resource for health and natural living.

In This Episode with Heather Dessinger, We Discuss

1:50 – Why the name Mommypotamus?
2:20 – Heather’s own health struggles
3:20 – Her life-changing moment at her wedding
3:55 – How her honeymoon was a catalyst for realizing the connection of food and health
4:45 – Heather’s turning point
6:28 – And YES to the hippopotamus!
7:00 – How and why she started Mommypotamus.com
7:20 – What are lip and tongue ties?
7:50 – Why we are seeing more tongue and lip ties
9:00 – Different symptoms related to tongue/lip ties and how they present
9:45 – Heather’s own struggle with her son’s lip and tongue ties
11:15 – How tongue ties are typically treated
11:27 – When fixing a tongue ties can cause more problems
12:03 – The solution that finally worked for them
12:20 – How to tell if your child has a tongue or lip tie
14:17 – Symptoms mom may see while nursing a tongue tied baby
14:55 – Symptoms baby can have with tongue and lip ties
16:03 – Long term problems associated with uncorrected tongue and lip ties
17:10 – How lip ties can affect oral health
18:00 – Why we should eat dirt
18:30 – The fascinating research between bacteria and belly buttons
19:30 – The “Chuck Norris” of beneficial bacteria and how to get them
21:12 – What they take to keep their gut bacteria healthy
22:15 – Heather’s favorite natural beauty care recipes
22:35 – Why natural personal care products are so important
23:41 – Heather’s simple homemade makeup that doubles as dry shampoo
24:11 – Heather’s own beauty routine
24:20 – The unusual ingredient she uses every day
25:50 – Heather’s typical day on the farm
29:25 – The most crunchy thing Heather has ever done and the weird things that have gone mainstream
31:45 – The advice she wishes someone had told her
33:06 – One step to start doing right away
34:15 – Heather’s top health resources

Resources We Mentioned

[toggle title=”Read Transcript”]
Katie: Hi, welcome to episode six of the Wellness Mama Podcast where I provide simple answers for healthier families. Today’s episode’s interesting fact is that the human body is host to more bacterial cells than human cells. Many are housed in our gut which today’s guest and I will definitely be talking about. But every square inch of our skin has over 32 million bacteria on it. The majority of the bacterial cells in the human body are beneficial and necessary. But it is important to support the healthy bacteria that we all carry around and to keep it in balance.

In today’s episode we will be talking about gut bacteria and why if you’re not eating dirt, you might wanna start. I cannot be more excited to introduce today’s guest. Heather Dessinger writes at mommypotamus.com. I’ve had a blog crush on her personally for several years. Like me, she struggled with and overcame an autoimmune disease. And it was a catalyst on her journey to better health and real food. She is a wife and mom to three precious little ones, and she’s also an avid researcher and a genius at creating recipes, do it yourself beauty products, and more. So welcome, Heather, thank you for being here.

Heather: Thank you so much for having me here.

Katie: I know like we have a ton to talk about, so I’m gonna jump right into the questions. To start with, let’s give the listeners an idea, I love the name of your blog and I love the story behind it. But can you tell the listeners how you became Mommypotamus and I know there’s both a practical and a health explanation here. So can you just explain your journey?

Heather: Sure. So there’s this book called “But Not the Hippopotamus” by Sandra Boynton. And I used to read it a lot to my daughter when she was little. It’s all about this hippo that watches life happen. But the hippo is always hanging back. Like, some of the lines are, you know, a hog and a frog do a dance in the bog, but not the hippopotamus, you know. And then there’s another page I just wrote it to my friend this morning actually, and it says, you know, “A goose and a moose together have juice,” but not the hippopotamus. And, you know, that was pretty much how I lived my life.

Back when I was in college, my health was pretty seriously deteriorating pretty quickly. I had really bad acne and we’re talking, like, green oozing puss acne. And I was really underweight. I suffered from very severe digestive issues, and abdominal pain. And toward the end of college it was actually sort of a toss-up between me finishing college and me keeping my part time job that I used for living expenses. So my mom actually helped me quit my job and helped me financially for those last couple of years so that I would just have the strength to finish. After a while, you know, after that things did seem to get better, but really what it was is I just sort of learned to mask the problem by using a lot of caffeine and over the counter acne medication.

So, you know, I thought I was doing better, but it kind of came back later on. And for me that point, which was like the point that you look back and say, you know, “Things really shifted gears,” was my wedding. I was on this beautiful island that was considered one of the last, you know, secret places in the Caribbean. Unfortunately, the reason it was a secret place is that it had been off limits due to the fact that the navy was using it for missile testing. So we got there and we were told that no one that lived on the island actually ate the fish that was caught around the island because they had really severe or serious issues around, concerning toxicity.

So they imported all their fish, and sometime around our honeymoon I started to get sick and by the time I got back I was covered in hives and my health was like falling apart within about six months. I was going to doctor after doctor and getting crazy on ultra sounds, on my abdomen because they were not really sure where all this pain was coming from. And everything, you know, it kept coming back negative. And finally, someone mentioned the possibility of an autoimmune disorder. And that was sort of a turning point for me where we started to get answers. But one day I…you know, I dropped by my mom’s house and she said that she got a doctor that she wanted me to see. And she started telling me about his practice, you know, the modalities that he was using. And I kind of laughed and said he sounded like a quack and, you know, we were kind of into the natural living movement already, but this was sort of like a new level of strange for me.

And so we actually still call him Dr. Quack, but it’s a very affectionate nickname at this point. He’s like a grandfather type that it’s impossible not to like. And anyway, with the help of this doctor I got well, and I discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation around the same time. So that helped me kind of stay well once I got there. I knew how to nourish my body and take care of myself.

Pretty soon after that I got pregnant with Katy, my first child, and I was told a few years earlier that that wasn’t even a safe thing for me to do. So that was pretty amazing. So when she was born, I would read her this story, you know, “But Not the Hippopotamus” and I would get so excited at the end because the rest of the animals invite the hippopotamus to join them in this amazing life they’re living. So, you know, at the very end, they’re all saying, you know, “Come join us.” And she’s just, and then the last few lines say, you know, and she just says, like, “No, should she stay, should she go?” And the last line is, “But yes the hippopotamus.” And I would, you know, that was my story.

Because, you know, after I got well, I just dove into life. I, you know, I wanted to do everything, I wanted to do all of it, all of the stuff that I had, you know, been missing out on. And so my husband used to laugh at me and call me Mommypotamus and one day he registered mommypotomus.com without telling me and set up a blog and told me to write.

Katie: That’s an awesome story and I love that your husband was your encouragement, too. That’s a beautiful story and that’s more in depth than I’ve read on your blog of that story. Thank you for sharing all of that.

Heather: Thank you.

Katie: And now you’re mom to three beautiful, vibrant little ones. And a topic that you write about quite a bit that I love and I think definitely needs more recognition is the struggle that some of your babies have had with lip and tongue ties. And how this can become a problem for nursing and, they can actually create a lot of problems. And I notice myself I see these more often as a doula and when I’m assisting a midwife, we are seeing a lot of cases of tongue and lip ties. So can you talk about what these are and why they can be so problematic?

Heather: Oh, yeah. If there’s one thing I could tell my pre-momma’s cells it would be all about tongue and lip tie. Basically, a tongue or lip tie is a structural abnormality that can cause nursing problems, and or symptoms like reflex and colic. So sometimes there, you know, something that’s diagnosed is one thing is really an undiagnosed tongue or lip ties, especially because they are really, really common. Most doctors though will not know how to diagnose them because there was this kind of blip in history. This period in history where because it was promoted as healthier than breastfeeding, most women bottle fed. And during this time, the knowledge about tongue and lip tie wasn’t emphasized in medical schools because it wasn’t really relevant.

And so now that we’ve seen this, you know, resurgent in more women breastfeeding, you know, we’re seeing all these breastfeeding issues pop up that doctors aren’t really trained to help resolve just because that knowledge didn’t make its way back into the curriculum as our choices and our behaviors changed.

So the thing about tongue and lip ties is that they can present in a ton of different ways. So in my case my only real symptom was extreme sleep deprivation because my babies, my first two…like, my daughter was never diagnosed until she was three years old. My son because he couldn’t nurse efficiently, he nursed more often to make up for it. So at five months old he was still nursing every two hours around the clock and I was exhausted. And he couldn’t nurse laying down because of his inability to latch properly. So every two hours I would go and sit in a rocking chair and hold him up and feed him. And I mean, I would fall asleep sitting up, I would, afraid I was gonna drop him, I was, you know, really not functioning well. And there is this day that I remember I had some new clothes for him and I put them in the washing machine with the hangers and tags, like still. And washed everything and got them out.

And I just kind of looked at my life and was like, “I don’t know how I got here, but I need help.” And so I called a lactation consultant and she came over and listened 30 seconds, she just said, “It’s tongue tie.” And so it felt so good to get back answers to kind of, you know, otherwise I just felt like I was looking at my life and going, “Men, you know, these other moms they’re doing motherhood,” and, you know, I didn’t realize that some of the challenges that I was facing in terms of sleep deprivation weren’t normal. And so I was sort of basing my reality against what I saw with my friends and I just felt like, “Man, I must really not know what I’m doing here.” You know, so we had his tongue tie revised when he was five months old using a traditional method that most EMTs use and not the scissor method. Unfortunately, it did resolve his symptoms almost immediately and then all of his symptoms returned plus more.

And what I learned was that sometimes the scissor method can…any method if there’s no proper after care can cause the frenulum. The part that’s attached to reattach, and then you’ve also got issues of scar tissue that can cause even a more severe attachment. That that tongue is being tied to the floor so that it’s not able to move in a way that nurses, that, you know, can grasp a breast and get milk out efficiently. So after that we took him to the foremost expert on tongue and lip ties in the U.S., Dr. Kotlow, in New York. And we had it revised with a laser. Lasers can release more of the tongue because, in a safe way than for just scan, and so that’s what we chose to do, and it completely changed my life.

My son started sleeping through the night, and I felt like a human being, and it was great. So when I saw how much it really made a difference for me, and I felt like it really helped me so much. And just getting enough sleep did so much for me and how I was able to relate to my kids, and you know, keep up with the challenges of daily life that it’s something I wanted to share with as many moms as possible, just in hopes of reaching a one two or struggling, or are struggling like I did.

Katie: Yeah, that’s…I’ve actually had that with a couple of mine now, too. And I think the problem like you say it’s getting very wide spread but there isn’t a lot of knowledge. And since a lot of doctors may not be as adept at recognizing these problems since they were trained that way, what would be your advice for a mom on how to tell if your child might have a lip tie or tongue tie? And you might need to get a second opinion?

Heather: What Dr. Kotlow has told me is that really the best way to identify a tongue or lip tie is based on symptoms. And I think it’s a lot like what we’ve learned about Hashimoto’s testing. And that is if you don’t look thoroughly enough you could miss something and a lot of tests aren’t sensitive enough or whatever. So, I mean, this is a very similar like case in that just because of the lack of training or a lack of emphasis on the problems that you know doctors may not catch, especially a specific kind of tongue tie called a posterior tongue tie, which is not visible. It’s still present, but it’s in the back of the tongue instead of the front.

So some of the symptoms that you can look for if you’re a mom and you’re breastfeeding. And these are some things you might have experienced, it would be cracked, blistered, bleeding nipples, plugged dirt, discomfort while nursing, sleep deprivation, again because baby is not able to nurse efficiently. So they’re gonna make-up for it by nursing more often. Thrush or mastitis, and low milk supply. Now I had none of these symptoms except for sleep deprivation. So you know, and both of, all of my children where, you know, had these issues, they were all tongue and lip tied. So just because you don’t have doesn’t necessarily mean that it doesn’t, that it’s not there.

For the baby, what you might notice would be symptoms of reflux or colic, difficulty in latching, gumming or chewing the nipples, gassiness, poor weight gain, making a clicking noise while they’re sucking, excessive drooling, and chocking on milk or popping off the breast a lot to gasp for air. And my son, he had a few of these, like the gassiness, and the difficulty latching, but he didn’t have some, like the poor weight gain. He was totally on track so, you know, it was hard for me to see the root cause because I kept eliminating in my mind the possibility of a nursing issue. Because he was gaining weight fine. But I didn’t factor all these other things in and kind of see the big picture until someone shared it with me, you know, shared this information with me.

Katie: Yeah, and that’s fascinating. And are there any problems? Do you know like ongoing…? Maybe if like your daughter if she has one, or if you know of children who’ve had one that was not corrected as a child? Are there any like long term consequences of that or should it be fixed later on if they discover it? Or is it just better to let it go if they’re older?

Heather: Well, according to Dr. Kotlow, there’s some Universities that are doing some research into that right now. Because there’s not a whole lot of independent research on the long-term consequences. But it does, depending on the severity of the issue it is associated with sleep problems, I’m sorry speech problems, and PMJ, and even migraines because it creates tension in the jaw. My daughter actually had a lip tie and not a tongue tie and so she, she’s okay. Like, we don’t need to have things corrected that I’m aware of. And both my sons had their tongues ties released and their lip ties.

For those that are considering, because I know a lot of parents they’re like, “Well we’re sort of past the breastfeeding, you know, thing.” There is one additional factor for children and that is because it’s not easy to clean the teeth because the frenulum is attaching the lip to the gums and it’s hard to get a toothbrush in there and clean. There can be sometimes be tooth decay issues and this actually happened with my daughter. Before when she was really young, she would get breast milk kind of stuck on the top of her teeth, and because her mouth didn’t clear milk properly, she had some decay issue on her top front teeth that were a result of the lip tie.

Katie: I remember reading about that on your blog. I think that you guys have improved that dramatically also. But I’d love to jump into another topic that’s kind of leads right into which is post breastfeeding and the importance of soil born organisms or SBOs. And of course, the common name for SBOs is dirt. And one post of yours in particular was enough to convince me to up my intake of soil born organisms. And it ties them with this statistic I mentioned at the beginning about how our body has more bacterial cells than human cells. And you do such a great job of breaking it down. So can you tell us what’s in dirt that is so important, and how can we make sure we aren’t missing out on that? Maybe even if we’re not gonna go get a spoon and eat some dirt.

Heather: Yeah. Have you heard about the Belly Button Biodiversity Project?

Katie: No, but I would love to hear you talk about it.

Heather: So these researchers in North Carolina swapped the belly button of 60 people and they found 2,300 species of bacteria. About 1,500 of which have maybe they’ve possibly never been identified before. So one of the volunteer’s belly button had these rare bacteria that has only been found in special soil in Japan, but the volunteer had never been to Japan. And another person had what are called extremophile bacteria. Stuff that you usually find in like the Arctic or deep, sea like way, way, way deep in the ocean.

So what the project shows is that there’s so much we don’t know about the symbiotic relationship between us and different types of bacteria. But we are starting to learn that there is one type of beneficial bacteria, and that’s soil based organism that are like the Chuck Norris of probiotics for good health. They are much harder than lactic acid based bacteria which is, you know, what you would find in fermented foods. Which I’m of course like a huge fun of. But you know, this is something that is beneficial, and in addition to that. Unfortunately, because we don’t garden, so our food as often like we used to. And most of the stuff that we get from the grocery stores has been scrubbed, you know, clean we’re not getting as many as of the soil based organisms as in our diet as we used to.

Katie: Yeah, exactly. So what would be some ways that people could start incorporating these or get more of these? Obviously, it sounds like gardening would be a wonderful option especially if they are radiating and cleaning their vegetables with chlorine. But what would be some ways to start incorporating that?

Heather: So what I do with my family because you know, most of the things that you will find are gonna be beneficial, you know, in the soil when you’re gardening and stuff like that. But you know, most of us haven’t built immunity to some of the not so friendly bacteria that we can find out there. So you know, we are starting slowly and doing the things we didn’t like. You know, go out, start doing like daily Medasta or anything like that. But in the meantime, as we begin to increase our time outside and our, you know, our gardening times stuff like that. We are taking, we do take a soil based probiotic.

Katie: Yeah, our family does also, and I’d say I’ve noticed a difference from taking it. Have you noticed also? Do you feel like your body absorbs it well?

Heather: I do I definitely keep it on hand and especially take it when we are travelling. Because I feel like it’s very potent stuff and it can knock anything out. So you know, if there is a tamibiotic in our house that’s the first thing am reaching for.

Katie: Yeah, definitely and I know from perspective one my big soap boxes is that children need to be playing outside and it’s just learning to interact with these organisms in a very natural way. And I think this generation has lost a lot of that, because they are all inside more and more watching TV, or playing video games, and they are not running around outside bare foot. So my kids hear me say all the time, like, “Go outside barefoot in the sun and play,” and get Vitamin D and truth and dirt, you know, like go be a kid.

Heather: Right.

Katie: But maybe adults we should be doing that too. Going and playing outside barefoot in the sun.

Heather: Yeah, that sounds good to me.

Katie: Yeah so another thing that your blog is pretty famous for is that you have dozens of amazing natural skin care recipes across the board skin care, hair care, everything. And I think you’ve even authored an e-book on organic and natural beauty recipes. So could you give us a primer on why it’s so important to use natural alternatives on your skin and then what your personal beauty care routine is?

Heather: That’s a good question. Right now, you know, experts estimate that most of us have an average of 700 chemicals in our body. And these can be hormone distractors. Things that affect out thyroid, formaldehyde, parthenogens. And a lot of these chemicals are known to bioaccumulate and to stay in our bodies and then be passed down to our children when they are born. So it’s really important to reduce our exposure and our children’s exposure where we can.

And fortunately, it’s actually very easy to do. I don’t have like a giant cabinet of all these crazy concoctions, you know, I have a very simple routine. And a lot of things that I make can, you know, they have one or two even three purposes. You know, for example, my home-made foundation powder and my dry shampoo recipes are pretty much identical. So sometimes when I finish my makeup and it’s been a crazy day and I didn’t get to shower, I would take my foundation and I’ll dust them on my roots before I head out the door. And so that’s, you know, it’s obviously, really easy and you know, my that I keep in my bathroom I’d use it to wash my hair and I use it to soothe bug bites, and sometimes in a pinch I use it as a toothpowder.

So it’s actually, you know, pretty easy and most of the products…most of the ingredients that you need in order to make it are very simple and versatile. So regarding what I use personally it changes from season to season and you know, I’m always testing and experimenting with things. But probably the one thing that’s been consistent is tallow bomb I love it and its really, really helps moisturize skin and it’s very similar in the way it’s made up just skins natural feeling. So, you know, it’s very nourishing and protecting. So that’s probably the one skin care product you’re always gonna find in my bathroom. And then other things, I changed, you know, sometimes I do oil cleansing, sometimes I use homemade soap which kind of changes.

As for my kids they use the homemade tooth powder, shampoo and a vinegerate as conditioner. And you know, that’s pretty much it. Actually, they do use soap at least sometimes. They are outside a lot so every once in a while, we can try to hand them a bar of soap and clean them up a little.

Katie: That’s awesome and that’s a great point that you made about how if you are making natural products it’s easy to just make all of them. Because I found this, too, you need maybe seven to 10 basic ingredients and you can make hair care, and skin care, and lotions, and toothpastes. It’s extremely versatile so that’s a great point and I’ll definitely link to some of your resources for that and the show notes that others can find those recipes that you have, because they’re awesome.

Heather: Thank you.

Katie: And speaking of homemade and dirt. If I remember correctly you guys just bought a farm. Is that correct?

Heather: Yes. Yes, we did.

Katie: I love that. Can you give us an idea of what a typical day looks like now as a blogger and on a farm?

Heather: So, I don’t there really is such a thing as a typical day here, but that’s because this is our first season and you can kind of ask farmers. But I can tell you about my day yesterday. So yesterday morning I spent a good part of my morning hunting for an injured rooster in the woods. Because we have a rooster and a dog that disagree about who the boss of the barnyard is. So the rooster picked a fight with the dog, and the dog was ending it, and the dog was winning. And so my daughter who was collecting eggs kind of ran back to the house and got our attention. We had to sort of break it up, and you know, my husband and I were just kind of looking at each other. And these are probably the kinds of things that an experienced farmer would not run into, you know, they probably knew this was coming, we totally didn’t. And they would have known how to prevent it, and but you know, we’re just really inexperienced.

So every single day kind of brings a challenge like that. I remember when we first bought our baby goats home. We didn’t sleep all night, it was like having a newborn in the house. Because they were out and they are 10 and they didn’t really understand. We have like Joel’s house has his electric movable fences and we had something kind of like that. So they kept walking into the fence and getting kind of caught because they didn’t quite understand what was going on. And we couldn’t sleep because we felt so bad and we were so new to this situation and we didn’t understand some of the challenges we were going to face in bringing them home for the first time.

By the next day we were total like pros at so much with the goats. But, you know, it was a rough, you know, eight hours that night. So, you know, there’s that and then, you know, this morning, you know, kind of another look into our life, you know, just doing normal stuff, like, my son really kind of crawled for the first time this morning. He’s been scooting around; but this time, you know, while I was making breakfast, the kids were cheering him on and he made his way all down the hallway and crawled into the tent that they had built at the end of the hallway. The three of them were having a pow-wow, so you know like really, really normal stuff.

And then tonight I’m going to walk to the waterfall that’s on our farm. And I’m gonna gather water crest from the water fall to use serve with hot bacon dressing for dinner. So that’s kind of like more extraordinary than I could ever imagine my life would be. I never thought I would live on a land, piece of land, that, you know, just had a waterfall running through it. But it does and so you now, I kind of. There are times that it’s just hilarious how little we know about what we’re doing and then at times where it just feels like transcendently amazing. And then there are times in between.

Katie: That’s awesome and I have so much respect for you guys. I think that that’s something so important that we need to maybe focus on as a country right now, is moving back towards our roots of making, like growing our own food and being attached with where it comes from. Even if that means just supporting local farmers. But I like that you guys are on the frontlines and doing that. I have so much respect for that. We’ve talked about. So we’ve talked about eating dirt, and making lotion, and farming. And a question I love to ask other mom’s and bloggers is what’s the most crunchy thing that you’ve tried or done in your whole real food and health journey?

Heather: I don’t know. You know, all that stuff I used to think that made me so weird has gone mainstream now, you know, like a few years ago I wrote an article about why we didn’t wear sunscreen every day and it felt so revolutionary. And then like the next year I was seeing on the news like a mainstream news outlet were reporting that some sunscreen maybe associated with some accelerated aging and cancer, and I was like, “Wow, I’m just totally mainstream.” And then I think the New York Times the year after that they like published an article on like why the flu vaccine was mostly a marketing thing. And I just felt like gosh I mean, is there really anything left? You know, there’s part of me that kind of feels really normal now even though maybe that is just my bubble that I live in.

But I will say that there’s probably one thing that probably makes me a little bit different. And that is when my family goes on a vacation, I typically choose our destination based on the presence of a health food store. Because I don’t, if we’re gonna go somewhere for a week, I know I’m gonna feel terrible if I eat like a standard American diet for the whole week. So I just feel better if we find a place, and usually where we stay has like a little kitchen or kitchenette or something. And I just hit you know the local healthy food store, and we eat basically like we do at home.

And that’s probably pretty hardcore for some people like, but that’s how I travel. But yeah, I mean, I choose our vacation destination based on that.

Katie: That’s, I love that. I do too. And I love your point about all these things becoming more mainstream because I’ve had that experience. I’ve written about things like coconut for years and I recently overheard a group of women in a small town where I live which is not naturally minded at all. And I overheard them talking about like, “Have you ever used coconut oil? It’s amazing.” “Oh, yeah I use it for this.” And I was like, “Yes this information is finally getting out there.”

Heather: Yeah.

Katie: So I hate that we are already getting toward the end, but I have a few questions that I ask everybody at the end. And I would love to hear your answers. And the first one is. What advice would you like to share with other moms that you wish that someone had given you? And you touched on that a little at the beginning, but I would like to hear what you would tell other moms that you wish someone had told you.

Heather: You know, yeah, we talked about it and that would be the tongue and lip tie. Even now when I’m like on the playground or a playdate and I’m hearing, you know, a mom talk about how her baby has reflux. I mean, it’s takes everything I have, not just reach my hand into their little mouth and just do a little sweep. Because if you know what you’re looking for they are pretty easy to find. It’s kind of a, it’s a hard thing because you don’t want to be that person who is offering constant unsolicited advice. But I do just try to generally educate and share my experience a lot. I’ll talk a lot about how my children had the same symptoms and how it ended up being, you know, a definite tongue tie. And that’s not to say it’s always is, but you know, it’s just something that I have encountered a lot. And so that would be the one thing I try to communicate the most. One thing I wish someone had told me.

Katie: Awesome. And then the next question is. What is one actionable step someone could take right now, if they’re maybe new to all these information that we’ve talked about? What’s one little thing they could start implementing right away?

Heather: Well, I would say that probably the one thing that has made the most difference for me and my health is to get more sleep. And I know that’s really hard, especially when you have a kid and night time is me time, you know, because I love me time. But I found that for me, I had a lot of trouble peeling my eyes away from the computer at night. And so I installed an app called Flex, and it’s available for PCs, Macs, and iPads. And what it does is it can change the brightness and the feel of your screen so that your brain can better switch mode when you’re ready to do that. So that’s been really helpful for me in winding down at night to go to sleep and I’m always much better off of it, right? If I get to sleep at a good time.

Katie: That’s a great tip to use flex. I use it also and I will link to that also on the show notes so that others can try it. And I’ve noticed that you tend to fall asleep more easily and just get tired if you use something like Flex. And then one more question I would like to throw in which obviously your blog is on the top of my list of health resources. But what is one health resource beside your own awesome blog that you would encourage other moms to read? Because I feel like we all should be constantly learning and maybe a book that you’ve read that was really helpful? You know, anything that has been helpful to you?

Heather: Okay, this feels terrible to say because it’s funny, but my husband and I were laughing yesterday about how every time I Google something, your blog comes up. And finally, I was like, “Why is this happening to me?” You know, and my husband Daniel said, “Well, Google has learned where you go for information. And so it’s just showing you where you’re gonna look anyway.” But aside from your blog there are a lot of great blogs and one of the ones that I think has always been a staple for me when I’m getting just, I guess you could say feeling about food, is I like to check out Nurse Kitchen, because she has such a passion that it just brings a lot. You know, my joy of cooking again reminds me what a privilege it is to be able to bring all these ingredients together that have been grown with love, and from local farmers, and things like that.

So I go to her for a lot of inspiration. And regarding books, oh, my gosh, I probably have five books a week arrive from Amazon, so it’s hard to take just one. Right now, I’m reading four, ‘Your Way to Hell’ by Dr. Bromsy

Katie: That’s a great one, yeah.

Heather: I think it’s really good. I think I need to start taking a daily or like a weekly picture of my Amazon orders. You know, we live in the middle of nowhere so I don’t go to the stores, I just order everything and yeah, I have a huge collection there.

Katie: That’s awesome, I love it. And I’ve already mentioned that you’re one of my favorite bloggers, but can you tell everyone else where else they can find you and learn more about what you’ve talked about, and stay in touch with you?

Heather: Sure, I’m at Mommypotamus that’s, oh gosh, should I spell it?

Katie: Yeah, go for it.

Heather: No, you can put it. Can you put it in your short notes?

Katie: I can definitely do that.

Heather: I’m at mommypotamus.com, that’s me.

Katie: Awesome, and you’re on social media also. I think I follow you on all the platforms. So anybody can find you there. Thank you, Heather, so much for making time. I think we collectively have eight children. So it’s just amazing we just talked for 35 minutes with no interruptions.

Heather: Yeah. Thank you so much, Katie, it was wonderful to get to talk to you.

Katie: Awesome to talk to you, too. And thanks to all of you for listening. If you have a second, please subscribe in iTunes so that you will be notified of the next podcast episode. And if you would, I would be really appreciative if you would leave a review and tell me how awesome Heather was. And anything you think I should do differently about the podcast. Until next week, have a healthy week.

Please subscribe so you hear future episodes. I’d also be really appreciative if you could take a second and leave a review or rating in iTunes to help others find it as well.

Have a healthy week!

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Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


19 responses to “006: Heather Dessinger on Tongue Ties, Eating Dirt, & Natural Beauty”

  1. PM Avatar

    In the transcript, Heather is quoted saying “power bomb” is her consistent product but the in the audio Heather actually says tallow balm.

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      Good catch. We use a semi-automated service to transcribe the audios and sometimes it misses small items like this. Thanks!

  2. Jessica G Avatar
    Jessica G

    Hello! I really enjoyed this podcast and will incorporate the information into various parts of my personal and professional life. I have one question, at 24:20 Heather mentions the one thing that stays consistent with her skin routine- some kind of oil I believe. I’ve listened to the clip several times now and I just can’t quite grasp what’s she’s saying. Is it olive oil? That doesn’t sound quite right, and I am very curious to know as I am experimenting with different oil combinations for moisture on my dry skin.
    Thank you for the work you do!

  3. Dale Avatar

    For children with lip and tongue ties, please see a certified orofacial myologist. They can help with diagnosis, referrals and post surgery follow up. Very interesting podcast! Thanks for all you do!

  4. Jessie Avatar

    I just listened to this episode yesterday. I wish I would have had this info on tongue ties 5 years ago! My daughter always hurt me when she nursed, but it wasn’t unbearable so we kept on. Then she went through a stage where she ATE ALL NIGHT and I was exhausted. I assumed I wasn’t making enough milk to satisfy her, so we started supplementing with homemade formula. Eventually I gave up nursing and weened her at 10 months. I have always regretted this. Thank you for getting this information out there. I hope more mommas find this sooner than I did.


  5. Samantha Avatar

    Hi Katie,

    I’ve recently started to listen to your podcasts in a way to try to incorporate lifestyle changes that are manageable and are finding you have a way of making what seems to be overwhelming very clear and easier to grasp and incorporate. I wanted to especially thank you for this podcast, I wish I would have known about lip ties a year and half ago. My daughter and I had an extremely difficult and straining first 4-5 months of feeding issues and unhappy baby and no one knew why. She ended up stopping feeding from me directly and only took the bottle (on Mothers day last year of all days haha). I exclusively pumped for her for the next 9 months or so until my supply stopped. Her teeth are now yellowing and was struggling to figure out why this was happening. After Heather explained her journey I went straight home after work and checked my daughter for a lip tie. I had never heard of this before and sure enough she has a stage IV very thick lip tie that is affecting the development of surrounding teeth and causing the yellowing. I’m going to get this lasered now I know – and have only you to thank for this great wealth of knowledge. Thank you!

  6. Naomi Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    I loved this podcast! I am wondering after reading through your site, what do you use for “bath soap”- do you use oil cleansing for the whole body and for the kids? I really dont see many “homemade soap” recipes on your site, or do you use castille? This is one area I am unsure what to do. I love oil cleansing for face by the way.

  7. Rachael Avatar

    I am curious if you know anything about tongue ties being genetic? My husband was tongue tied but was bottle fed and his tongue was not released until he was 13, he could not stick his tongue out of his mouth. With my first son I had almost all of the symptoms listed in this podcast when I breastfed him and he also had some of the symptoms listed like slow weight gain and up to about 5mo (when we introduced solids) he would throw up multiple times a day usually immediately after nursing so I would end up SOAKED. I told every one of his Drs about it, I was told it was normal. I wish I would have known this then but I am wondering if I would have still been brushed off by the Drs anyway.
    On the note of roosters and dogs… its going to happen. You can keep them contained and try an prevent it and it is still going to happen. Good luck with the goats I raised dairy goats as well those babies are adorable and if there is anything to get into they will find it to get into it just like human kids! ha!
    I am loving the podcasts thank you wellnessmama!

  8. Rebekah Avatar

    This was so eye opening. I had a serious struggle with a tongue tie with my oldest daughter. She had almost all of the things you mentioned, and I had the exhaustion (she would nurse extremely painfully) for an hour at a time because she couldn’t get enough. Her tongue would click all the time, and finally at 3months I saw a lactation consultant, who almost immediately diagnosed it. Then we couldn’t find a ENT who would do the frenulectomy, we finally found one who would do it under general anesthesia. The clip didn’t fix her nursing, her tongue still clicked and she couldn’t latch correctly. Now after hearing you I think she may have had a posterior tongue tie as well.

    When I heard your story about tooth decay with your daughter, a light bulb went off in my head because my daughter’s front teeth are always yellowish despite great oral care and an improving diet. I checked her lip frenulum today, and compared it to my other kids, and sure enough, it is pretty tightly attached to her gums, right at the tooth line.

    So almost like the relief I found when I found out she was tongue tied, I am relieved to have an answer for her dingy teeth and can properly focus on a solution.

    Thank you is much for this post and the information on the tongue and lip ties!

  9. Sierra Avatar

    Thank you guys so much for this! I am loving the podcast. It is so nice to hear everything laid out, and I am always listening to npr podcasts during the day. I’m happy to have yours to listen to too!

    I have a question about the “eating dirt”. Would you suggest NOT washing veggies before eating them if the veggies come from your own garden or a local organic farm/CSA?

  10. Talia Avatar

    Crazy, Friday the 13th and a full moon… I woke up and brushed my 19 month old son’s teeth and noticed yellowing decay on his four upper teeth. I freaked out and called multiple dentists, one holistic dentist two hours away to make an appointment to figure this out. A few hours later listen to your podcast and heard it’s possibly lip tie which I never heard of. I read your blog, and follow the nourishing traditions diet mostly, take fermented cod liver oil, never eat out, only eat organic whole foods, no processed sugar and am still nursing Ethan every 3 to 4 hours. He must have lip tie… Is this something all dentists know about? If I mention it to the dentist will he look at me funny? Can I actually reverse his tooth decay and do something about the lip tie?

    1. Katie - Wellness Mama Avatar

      Most dentists know something about this but not all are well trained in it at all. Look under his lip and if you see a piece of skin connecting it, you may want to consult a specialist.

  11. Jessica Avatar

    I love seeing the interaction between all my favorite bloggers. I have been following yours and Heather’s blogs for some time and was wondering if you two would ever guest post on each other’s blogs. These podcasts are great starting points for those who are just delving into a healthy way of life. Thanks for doing these!

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